Monday, May 20, 2024

Foreign Minister Ebrard hits the road for COP27 and G20 Leaders’ Summit

Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard will represent Mexico at three major international events in the coming days, a role in which he has ample experience due to President López Obrador’s predilection for staying at home.

Ebrard will first attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, before traveling to Bali, Indonesia, for the G20 Leaders’ Summit. Later next week he will fly to Ankara, Turkey, for a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, while on Nov. 20 he will be in Qatar to attend the opening match of the FIFA World Cup.

At COP27, as the climate conference is commonly known, Ebrard will present “Mexico’s vision for the transition to clean energy” and outline its commitments to help the world combat climate change, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) said a statement.

The Environment Ministry said earlier this week that Mexico would announce a commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030 at COP27, which began last Sunday and concludes next Friday. That’s an increase of eight percentage points compared to the nationally determined contribution goal it set in 2016, and there is some skepticism that Mexico will be able to achieve the more ambitious target given its current heavy reliance on fossil fuels for energy production.

Ebrard saw U.S. Special Climate Envoy John Kerry as recently as October, when the U.S. diplomat visited Sonora.
Ebrard saw U.S. Special Climate Envoy John Kerry as recently as October, when the U.S. diplomat visited Sonora. Twitter @m_ebrard

However, Ebrard said Thursday that he would meet with United States climate envoy John Kerry in Egypt to discuss “the expansion of clean energy production in Mexico.”

Mexico needs to increase such production “at a rate even faster than the United States” to ensure it can comply with any clean energy requirements the U.S. imposes on exports to that country, the foreign minister said. During Kerry’s visit to Sonora last month, Mexican and U.S. officials spoke of their shared vision to increase the production of solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric energy, he added.

Ebrard, who hopes to win the ruling Morena party’s nomination in order to contest the 2024 presidential election, will meet with leaders of the world’s largest economies at the Nov. 15 and 16 G20 summit in Bali, hosted by Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

U.S. President Joe Biden, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and new United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak are among the leaders who will attend the annual meeting.

“Mexico will actively participate [in the summit] so that the G20 assumes the responsibility that corresponds to it in order to make progress on the priorities of the group in the areas of health, energy transitions, digital transformation, migration, gender equality and women’s empowerment, development, environment and climate change,” the SRE said.

The ministry noted that this year’s leaders’ summit will occur in an “unprecedented context due to the geopolitical situation in eastern Europe because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its impact on food and energy security.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin won’t attend the G20 Summit in person but may join virtually, Russian and Indonesian officials said Thursday.

Ebrard said Monday that the war between Russia and Ukraine, food security, global economic growth prospects, inflation and public security will all be discussed in Bali, one of 37 provinces of Indonesia. The discussions won’t be easy but “dialogue is important,” he told reporters in Mexico City.

The opening plenary of the COP27 climate conference occurred on Sunday.
The opening plenary of the COP27 climate conference occurred on Sunday. Flickr / UNclimateconference

The SRE said the foreign minister will also attend a series of bilateral meetings in Bali, including ones with his U.S., Canadian, Spanish and Argentine counterparts and the director-general of the World Health Organization. Mexico is currently in dispute resolution discussions with the U.S. and Canada after those two countries challenged the federal government’s nationalistic energy policies under the USMCA, the North American free trade pact that took effect in 2020.

From Bali, Ebrard will head to Ankara to co-chair with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu the second meeting of the High Level Mexico-Turkey Commission, the SRE said. Both countries are part of the MIKTA group, an informal partnership between Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey and Australia, all of which are considered middle powers.

While in Ankara, Ebrard will also meet with business people and members of the Mexican community in Turkey, the ministry said.

The foreign minister will subsequently head to Doha, Qatar, to attend the opening World Cup match between Qatar and Ecuador and Mexico’s first group match against Poland on Nov. 22. The SRE said that Ebrad will represent President López Obrador at the World Cup, and noted that he was invited to attend by the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Among other scheduled activities in Qatar, the foreign minister will visit the Katara Cultural Village, where “he will unveil sculptures by renowned Mexican artist Rodrigo Solórzano, as a symbol of Mexico’s friendship and appreciation of Qatar,” the SRE said.

Ebrard frequently represents Mexico on the world stage as López Obrador — who asserts that “the best foreign policy is domestic policy” — prefers to remain at home to focus on national issues. The president held his morning news conference in Mérida, Yucatán, on Friday and will once again inspect progress on his pet infrastructure project, the Maya Train railroad, this weekend.

Among the recent events Ebrard has attended in López Obrador’s stead are the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in London in September and the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York later the same month.

With reports from El Economista and Reuters 

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